Obligatory Disclaimer to Anyone New To The Practice:
- Take everything I say with a grain of salt (as you should all things on the internet).
- These dialogues are my personal opinions and beliefs and should not be regarded as LAW or “THE ULTIMATE TRUTH” in any capacity.
“I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess.”
― Walt Whitman, Walt Whitman’s Camden Conversations
I remember when I first entered the mysteries, enamored by the ideas that entice many young individuals: superiority, importance, or attention. I remember when those things mattered. Yes, not too many years ago, I was in the trap. Back then, I believed it wasn’t the case, despite desiring that someone—anyone—would believe the claims I made. I then changed my beliefs to fit those that I tried to convince, never standing firm on any one idea.
I have always had a turbulent relationship with belief, those the reasons were sometimes not the best reasons, but other times (much later in my research) I found better ones. I dance on the fence between skepticism and blind faith, always changing my opinion when the right evidence arises, much to many others’ collective dismay. In many ways, that was a foundational belief of who I became later in my life. It makes practicing philosophy, mysteries, and the like extremely difficult, but at least I stay consistent in not being stringent and immovable on many positions.
In my last Philosophy lecture, my professor spoke a lot on what is “the right type of evidence” required to change an opinion, and how that is a personal measurement (which can oftentimes be inconsistent). It mirrored the last time that I struggled with some evidence early in my journey around curses and demons and whatever.
The Curse of Flexibility
When I was originally a participating member of another popular site, I was early in my “comfort” of sharing my experiences with strangers on the internet. I was inexperienced in the practice and unaware of the things that could happen, and I was also inexperienced in the area (so completely unaware of what was deemed “cringe” behavior—though that wasn’t really a contention point except for once—but I have ideas about that, for another time).
In one experience, I shared that I was dealing with the dream timeline and the entity I affectionately call “Mysterious.” In sharing my experience, I got a lot of great feedback and direction. One that stuck with me was a curse, the practitioner gave me all of this “evidence” that supported their claim, though instead of using logical reasoning, I tried to fit their evidence in the grand scheme of things as if it were evidence enough for just existing. It completely derailed a lot of research, though gave me some valuable cleansing experience.
Unfortunately, because it wasn’t based on reality, it caused some disagreement between myself and the practitioner (though nothing outright, I guess they became miffed that I didn’t “listen to their advice” and I questioned when I should see results of my cleansing exercises if it were true). I realized then that when not weighing evidence or disregarding truth for the sake of someone’s feelings or perceptions, I let myself be convinced of things that were not true and ultimately got the same outcomes (they were angry, I was sad—not good times). This experience taught me this:
- Not all evidence is valid evidence
- The truth should never be disregarded in favor of winning others’ favor
- “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.”
- “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” – Socrates
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SKEPTICISM, FILTERING EVIDENCE/FEEDBACK, ETC.:
Kamga Tchassa, “Negative Comments….” (Link)
– A great resource I watched during the height of my blogging days. It was very helpful in getting me to see that just because someone gives you feedback, it doesn’t mean it’s right. There is something to be learned in all feedback, but it’s not always obvious.
– Emphasizes the importance of a “filter” when collecting feedback (I also apply this to evidence)
Plato, The Trials of Socrates
– There are some really inspiring quotes about “wise men” worth reading.
– Changed my opinions on the weight of others’ opinions (or validated what I was feeling)